This is the argument Fouad Ajami puts forth following eight months of the Obama presidency:
We were led to this summer of discontent by the very nature of the coalition that brought Mr. Obama, and the political class around him, to power, and by the circumstances of his victory. The man was elected amid economic distress. Faith in the country’s institutions, perhaps in the free-enterprise system itself, had given way. Mr. Obama had ridden that distress. His politics of charisma was reminiscent of the Third World. A leader steps forth, better yet someone with no discernible trail, someone hard to pin down to a specific political program, and the crowd could read into him what it wished, what it needed.
It is not a new argument. I heard in first in February, in Madeira first from a comedian, then from the producers of the island’s philharmonic orchestra carnival celebration. Obama’s botched swearing in ceremony was shown over and over and the Obamas were best understood as a typical African leader. The audience was made up of European tourists and their laughter convinced me that contrary to MSM’s assertions, this was the way the average Europeans viewed our new president. I am sure Michelle’s Parisian shopping spree in the midst of the current harsh recession, merely served to convince them that they are right. It certainly reminded me of those comic insights.
Indubitably, the Obama worship has unsavory charismatic aspects reminiscent of a Peron and one can only hope that Ajami is right and the American people will ultimately say no to the efforts to bamboozle them. That said, watching the NYT chart of the Kennedy “royal family” and listening to Reagan worship of many conservatives, I do believe that Obama worship represents not a novelty but a recurrent attempt by the modern priestly class, the intellectuals, to use charismatic politicians to help them bypass the “ignorant masses” and implement policies designed to overcome the “false consciousness” of those masses.
Be that as it may, I, too, like Ajami, delight in the town hall meetings. As long as Americans refuse to follow Obama’s haughty suggestion to be quite, choosing instead to hold their elected representatives’ feet to the fire, our democratic system has a chance to survive the dangers presented by our current “one party system.”
For more, especially videos, visit my blog, Deja vu
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